For many Americans, Election Day 2016 will be a much-anticipated end to what has been a historically caustic presidential campaign. But when the dust settles on Nov. 9, it’s really just the beginning.
Whoever becomes the 45th president of the United States will face an increasingly divided nation at a critical juncture in American history. The University of Virginia’s Miller Center is using the lessons of history to help prepare the next president and the nation for this important moment.
The “First Year Project” is a series of essays and videos created by presidential historians at the center, expert scholars from across UVA Grounds, and experienced political veterans who have served in the administrations of both parties. The 10-volume project addresses a wide range of challenges facing the president in his or her first year, beginning with why that year is so crucial to establishing effective leadership.
In addition to publishing these reflections, Miller Center scholars are also engaging directly with political operatives who are likely to have a role in the next administration. They’ve briefed both the transition teams for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on their work and will continue holding small meetings and conferences in Washington, D.C. in 2017.
This week, the center is premiering the seventh volume of the First Year series, “Seizing the Bully Pulpit.” It addresses the communications demands that will face the president as new technology creates more ways for the White House to connect with the public. Specific topics include the changing social media arena, adapting for the mobile landscape, and preparing for the ease with which smartphones can capture unguarded moments.
“One of the primary challenges we address is the need to have a different communications style and a different way of shaping your message for each new platform,” said Nicole Hemmer, the Volume 7 editor and an assistant professor in presidential studies at the Miller Center. “If you don’t understand the native language of Twitter or Snapchat or Instagram, then you’re going to sound inauthentic there and it’s going to be alienating. We place a real emphasis on the importance of authenticity in this portion of the series.”
A new Volume 7 video provides a short preview of content Hemmer describes and readers can use the links below to navigate the full “First Year Project” series.